16 Jun What you need to know before choosing a pet.
Getting a new pet is super exciting and is a great addition to the family. But there is a lot to consider – responsibility, cost and the time a new pet requires, so you’ll need to understand which one will best suit your family. There’s a lot to consider, whether you’re after a wagging tail to greet you home each day or a silent companion who swims around all day. Here are our top tips to consider before picking a pet:
- Be realistic about the primary caretaker. You might be getting your 8-year-old a puppy for companionship, but you’ll be responsible for the financial responsibilities. While your kids are at school, you’ll need to train and care for your pet, so don’t take on a pet with the expectation that your child will do all the work. This is the same if your job requires you to go into the office, you’ll need to prioritise training your dog to be left alone and enlisting a trustworthy dog walker.
- Prepare your bank account. The first year of taking care of a pet can be costly, with vaccinations, desexing and food expenses. These financial obligations will need to be maintained for your pet’s lifespan, so make sure you’re aware of the costs upfront. On top of that, accidents happen, so it’s essential to have pet insurance or a backup medical emergency fund for when you least expect it.
- Do your research! Each type of pet has very different needs. The difference between having a well-trained pet or a terror running around the house can range from their breed, age, type and so much more. Therefore, it’s crucial to figure out what you can fit into your lifestyle and go from there.
- Be ethical! There are many unethical breeders and scammers, so be sure to choose a registered and ethical breeder, or even better, adopt from a shelter!
- Consider the future. If you’re renting, moving, changing jobs, planning a family or have any other significant life changes coming up, you’ll have to make sure that you’ll be able to support your pet each step of the journey.
They’re called man’s best friend for a reason! Like humans, each dog is an individual, but many of their characteristics are determined by breed, so research which ones are suitable for your lifestyle. Breed determines their exercise needs, space requirements, how much food they eat, components of their personality and much more.
There is also a secret loophole – adopting! Adopting a dog who has already developed it’s personality helps you pick your best friend who fits your life perfectly. It’s important to remember a dog is a long-term commitment you’ll share your life with for more than 10 years.
Cats make for great pets as they’re self-sufficient and clever! Like dogs, each cat has their own personality, so it might be a better option to adopt an adult cat from a rescue if you want to know exactly what you’re signing up for. Cats are well known for being sassy and picky about cuddles, however, a cat’s personality can be influenced by how they are raised. The daily schedule to care for a cat is simple – feeding and cleaning the litter tray are the essentials, but like any pet, you’ll need to be able to commit to them for more than 10 years. For your cat’s and the native wildlife’s safety, it’s important to only allow them outside on a leash or supervised in your own yard, so research how to socialise a cat before bringing them home.
Rabbits are a very underrated pet – just like dogs they can be super cuddly, become toilet trained and even learn tricks! How you raise and interact with your bunny will determine their personality, so it’s great to do some research before brining one home. Don’t be fooled by their size! Rabbits are just as much responsibility as dogs and cats as they still need vet care, proper nutrition, plenty of space and exercise. The Australian wildlife makes rabbits vulnerable to predators, so they do best as indoor pets. They can be cheeky and love to chew, so bunny proof the home before they get settled in.
Guinea pigs are small but mighty! These explorative little creatures are not to be underestimated as they require lots of attention. They require a unique setup and do best with company, so if you’re keen on a guinea pig, make sure you’re ready for two. Guinea pigs need their area cleaned daily, grooming, a fresh produce diet, and cuddles! Like any pet, they’re a long term commitment, but they’re a good choice if you’re short on yard space or not up to the task of handling a big dog.
Birds are super intelligent pets – you can even train them to talk! They can live for over 25 years, so make sure you can commit to them for a long time, even when your kids leave the nest. As flying creatures, you need to give them the space and opportunity to fly, so make sure your home is bird proofed for some supervised flying time. They’re known for being loud and destructive when cooped up, so if you’re planning on keeping them in a cage all day, consider a more manageable option like a fish.
Fish are a great first pet! They take up minimal space and don’t need training. However, they need plenty of cleaning and feeding so they’re a good choice to ease into the responsibility of caring for something other than yourself. There are plenty of colourful choices, and some are much easier to care for, so read up on all the options before picking the right one or find out if the classic goldfish is suitable for you.
If you decide to get a pet, make sure to share their stories on Baxta!